Thousands crowd into Reserve to honour Diggers
ANZAC Day services attracted record crowds across Ipswich with 4000 people cramming into the North Ipswich Reserve to commemorate Australia's fallen Diggers.
Crowds lined Brisbane St for the Anzac Day parade, with most of the crowd following the end of the parade across David Trumpy Bridge to attend the service.
It was the inaugural service at Ipswich's premier sporting ground and Mayor Paul Pisasale declared it a success.
Amberley-based Commanding Officer of Ninth Force Support Battalion Mark Stone was among the dignitaries to address the service.
He said the Anzac Day spirit helped build a young nation.
"The Australian and New Zealand armed forces committed themselves with no hesitation about the nobility of their cause and fought with great courage and skill," he said.
"The achievements of the Anzacs can be measured in other ways than strategy, tactics and battle.
"Their true achievements were in their courage, determination, mateship and sacrifice."
Ipswich RSL president Ray Watherston said the support from the public at all services and during the march was fantastic.
The commemoration turned into games of two-up and the odd cold beer at the Ipswich RSL Club in the afternoon.
Mr Watherston agreed with Cr Pisasale's assessment that crowds were up across the board.
He believed the increase in support for Anzac Day is driven by the Australian digger's deployments to Afghanistan.
"I think it's Afghanistan, that's got a lot to do with it."
Cr Pisasale said he went to seven services and each of them attracted masses of people.
He said the future of Anzac Day service at the North Ipswich Reserve will be decided with the Ipswich RSL.
"It was absolutely fantastic; it was a wonderful location."
He said Anzac Day has special meaning in Ipswich because of the Amberley air base.
"We have an added responsibility because we have got the largest defence base. For our city our job is to make the troops and their families welcome every day.
"It means honour, sacrifice and freedom. Freedom is not free and that is what we are to remember. All the sacrifices people made."